Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category

Questioning and Active Learning

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Attitude, Class

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

As adults, we are often lulled into silence and complacency after achieving a certain level of competence in a subject. This can happen at the_wise_owl-t2school, at work, at home, and in the dojo. We get comfortable enough that we can settle into a groove and just coast along without questioning or pushing back on the walls. We listen, we mimic, we go home thinking we learned some cool new stuff. This is called passive learning. The more advanced we become and the more belts, bars, patches, or years we stack on, the more we should be questioning and seek to understand at a deeper level. We should internalize what the lesson is about and what the technique is doing, using this knowledge, alongside what we already know, to solve problems. This is active learning and must be every successful student’s mindset. (more…)

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contentWell this is a nice surprise.  The cool people over at BookMartialArts.com have gone and ranked my humble blog as one of their Top 30 martial arts blogs.  Go check it out and be prepared to bookmark not only their site but a lot of great blogs I share the Internet with.

Giving Thanks 2015

Posted: November 26, 2015 in Attitude, Class
Tags: ,

Gratitude rockIt’s been a whirlwind year of training. Since getting my Black Belt last December I have been fortunate enough to experience our school splitting the Black Belts from the rest of the Advanced Class in January. This gave me exposure to more focused training. More intense conditioning and brutal, all-out classes, often in excess of 90 minutes, have been the norm since them and I’ve loved every minute of every class. We’ve been exposed to advanced gun and knife techniques, two-on-one techniques, more gnarly ground defense, Kali stick and knife fighting, and so much more. I am ecstatic about this change as it mixes things up. It also forces me to keep up my commitment and never allows me drop my guard and coast through training. In addition to this renewed focus on the Black Belts at my school, I am thankful for a lot of other things this year. (more…)

Since I started training in Krav Maga a few years ago, I find myself engaging in a fun and educational activity. While watching fights break out on TV or in the movies I’d be thinking about what a particular character did well or maybe what they should/could have done differently for potentially a better outcome. I am thinking in terms of avoiding the conflict, defusing the conflict, or — when it’s too late and it’s going down — what they should have done to end the fight. It’s an interesting way to spark a discussion about Krav Maga and self-defense in general. And heck, these days, violence being so prevalent in our media, there are so many opportunities to do so. (more…)

A Vivid Imagination

Posted: November 14, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Technique

heroOne topic that gets little to no attention when talking about Krav Maga training is the role of imagination. I mean, as in imagining being attacked, being the Attacker, and so on. All of these roles involve having a good imagination and “playing along” or else the person being the Defender is not applying their training in a way that simulates reality.

Let’s take an example. Say you and your partner are working on a knife technique like an overhand (or ice pick) stab. Your Attacker drives down with the knife, you defend it by creating your 360 defense and bursting in with a counter-punch to their face. What you’re simulating here (but not fully executing) is a nice smash to the Attacker’s face, one that would “short circuit” their brain and result in them halting their downward thrust of the knife for a split second. In reality, this is what would happen. Don’t believe me? Let’s try an exercise to illustrate this point. Try picking something up off the floor and, when you just grasp it, have a partner kick you as hard as they can in the ass. Go ahead. I’ll wait… (more…)

My 3-Year Retrospective

Posted: August 8, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Technique

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Long Way to Go, Gratitude, Thinking/Not Thinking, and Taking it Off

The past June I passed my three-year milestone. My training is now a toddler, almost out of diapers. Boy, time flies when you’re laying in groin kicks, doesn’t it? Three years of Krav Maga have gone by performing countless clinches, punches, kicks, breakfalls, knees, elbows, and 360 defenses. Not to mention my share of bruises, fractures, sprains, pulls, cuts, and sore muscles. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve hurt my toes this past year!

Except for 3 weeks out of the year (a week vacation for me and two 1-week shutdowns annually for the school), I’ve been training faithfully an average of 3 times a week. No injuries or illness kept me away — knock on wood. So, as of this month, that’s approximately 500 one-hour classes of training. Of course there were some seminars here and there and sometimes I’ve logged 4, maybe even 5 or 6, classes per week but  this is a pretty good ballpark estimate. I’m in it for the long haul. (more…)

Setting Your Goals

Posted: July 15, 2014 in Attitude, Inpirational, Video

This is a really interesting video by Tony Robbins about setting goals (it’s a playlist of 35 minutes but very much worth it). He released it a few years ago around New Years as a motivational message to help people keep their resolutions but it’s just as relevant throughout the rest of the year. One of the more compelling messages in it for me was that, in order for you to make lasting change you have to “raise your standard”.

Whether or not you are a fan of motivational speakers, if you have the chance to do so, I challenge you to give this a chance, sit back and take it in. There is a lot of food for thought in here that I think can help us all get to the next level in our training goals.

Fear and Krav Maga

Posted: June 6, 2014 in Attitude, Class, Injury

Recently I was given the opportunity to post an article on the blog over at the Krav Maga Institute. In return, today’s post is courtesy of Josh Greenwood.

Fear

by Josh Greenwood

kniferAt some point in all of our lives we’ve experienced this dreaded feeling. It’s creeped up on us, surprised us, and even punched us right in the gut when we least expected it. Fear is something that is never going to go away. But why would we want to live without one of our bodies’ original self-preservation mechanisms!

As fighters and Kravists fear is a daily battle and something that we learn to harness every time we step onto that mat or venture out into the world around us.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should be scared of everything around us! Fear, False Evidence Appearing Real. I’ve heard that from many people I’ve met in my life and from all different walks of life. We need to realize that fear is nothing more than a tool we can harness. It is then when we can truly progress to that next level past someone who just does something to someone who embodies that something. Here are five fears that most people have when training, fighting, and defending oneself.

Fear to freeze and not speak up

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! It’s easy enough to type out but if I asked you to go out into a crowded intersection and scream at the top of your lungs a vast majority of people couldn’t do it! That could be the difference of going home or getting drug into a side alley and assaulted. Getting others attention to a violent situation is key to the first step of prevention. We have a fight or flight response, but what people don’t talk about as much is the response that can take over when we experience immense and sudden fear, freezing. Your body shuts down and you can’t move let alone call for help. The only way to experience this is through intense stress inoculation drills. In Krav Maga we train every scenario as if our life is on the line. This is the only way to learn to harness that fear and turn it into intense focus for survival.

(more…)

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Boxing the bear

As humans, it is so easy to do the least amount of work necessary to get the job done. We are optimizers. When faced with a task in everyday life we immediately — whether we know if or not — try to find a way to do it simply. We don’t like over-complicating tasks and we certainly don’t want to spend more energy, strength, or time needed to do something.

This is as true in the gym and training as it is in the “real world”. Take push-ups, for example. Proper form, to avoid injury and strain on the shoulders, is to have your elbows tucked in, rather than flared out to the side. Flared elbows make the push-ups much less difficult, effectively taking strain off the relatively weaker triceps and putting onto larger, stronger muscle groups such as the shoulders and chest. We’re able to bang out a higher number of reps in a shorter amount of time. More ‘oohs and ahhs‘ from the sidelines, if you will. The downside? Pain and injury and an overall “missing of the point” of doing the exercise in the first place. (more…)

Getting and Giving Feedback

Posted: September 1, 2013 in Attitude, Class

megaphoneI think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.
Elon Musk

I have been thinking a lot about feedback lately. I’m talking about in-class feedback, the kind you get in the “heat of battle”, in the midst of a drill, in the thick of things rather than post-class feedback. There are lots of ways feedback is given and it can come from all sides — from instructors as well as fellow students (more and less experienced than yourself). Some of it is useful, in fact most of it is, but some can be unwarranted, unwanted, poorly timed, and just plain annoying.

So, in my humble opinion, what constitutes good feedback? Well, first let me describe what I think is bad feedback because — despite what some people may tell you — I believe it does exist. (more…)

“If your karate is good enough you do not need a black belt to prove it, and if it is not, then you should not wear one.
— Eiichi Miyazato

I think my driver changed. No longer am I motivated so much by belts. The strip of cloth we tie around our midsection. Sure they are a extremely helpful as goals and a visible result of our hard work and dedication that we actually can wear.  What I’m finding though is that I am more driven by the prospect of an increase in skill, a better sense that I’m “gettin’ it”, and a more solid feeling that I can really use this stuff to protect myself if I ever need to.

4z7hNY2Up until fairly recently, I have been focusing on the goal of being a Black Belt as my primary motivation. I have realized that this is all wrong, at least for me. With each new belt stripe and new belt color I get one step closer to Black Belt but I also get less and less jazzed about the belt itself and more excited about what the skills I’m obtaining. I wear mine every class despite the fact that few students at my school do not (except Black Belts). This is not done as a something that I hope triggers envy in White Belts but as a visible reminder to myself alone that I’ve made progress and should always strive to make progress. Every day, every class — without exception.

So why do we want to be Black Belts? That Final Destination. For some it’s a Bucket List item. In fact, I’ve seen a surprisingly high percentage of students bail within 6 months of getting said belt. For others a Black Belt is a personal challenge, like running a marathon. For some it’s to boast to everyone who’ll listen (the vast majority of people who do listen, by the way, will not give a rat’s ass, by the way). For others it might be a way to get recognition and respect (i.e., in a dojo) where they might not get it so easily outside in the real world. Maybe their spouse, boss, siblings, and co-workers think they’re a nicompooop but at the dojo, with a Black Belt, they are respected. Really though, who knows what drives someone else to do what they do? (more…)

Getting Involved

Posted: February 24, 2013 in Attitude, Injury, Legal

The scariest moment is always just before you start. – Stephen King

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we are conditioned by society to try to get along, not make waves, and are pressured not to stand out in social settings. I guess this varies by the rules of your society (e.g., what country or part of that country you’re from) as well as your age, personal upbringing, social circle, and genetic makeup but in general it’s safe to say that we are not in a position to jump up on the middle of a school play or town hall meeting and make a scene, creating a focus and center of attention on ourselves. I know a bunch of people who fall outside this statement but I stand by it being pretty much dead on for the rest of us. Lots of people won’t get involved and it’s been proven that the larger the crowd the less likely people are to get involved and help someone in trouble (see the “Genovese syndrome” for more on that).

These tendencies are not our friend when it comes to defending ourselves or loved ones in trouble. It’s even worse when — in addition to these tendencies — we are also highly prone to freeze when attacked abruptly. A lot’s been written about freezing (Rory Miller’s got some great material on this and some ways you can minimize the freeze) but suffice it to say that it’s when you’re confronted by immediate danger (say, a mugging) and turn into a “deer in the headlights”, unable to snap out of it. As I’ve read it, this happens to everyone, despite their training or preparedness, and can only be lessened, not eliminated. (more…)